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Tick infestation.

Home Forums Hedgehog tales Tick infestation.

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  • #11611

    Hi hog lovers I’m new to the forum but old to my love for hedgehogs.
    Five days ago one of my dogs spotted a juvenile hog in the garden, on closer inspection I saw some ticks and decided to take her inside to remove them with my tick picker. My youngest daughter (nurse) did the removing and I did the holding, relaxing and uncurling. This little one is so tame that we are both blown away by her but even more mind blowing is that we have removed 62 ticks from the poor little mite – how has she survived with the blood she must have lost? Some were huge and full while others were almost pinhead sized and on checking her over thoroughly each day we find more, minuscule ones we simply couldn’t see the day before. I have four dogs and I rescue pigeons so am well aware of getting the heads out and also how debilitating ticks can be.
    She obviously has fleas, most of which came out in a baby shampoo and tea treat bath, she is eating very well and I give her a run in my front room each evening then put her back in her indoor rabbit cage overnight and during the day. She is so beautiful, remarkably tame and very lively, she has taken to sleeping in a fleece (which I change every morning) and isn’t fazed by humans at all, it’s almost like she was someone’s pet.
    On speaking to my next door neighbour it appears there is a mother hog and three hoglets in her garden, this baby could be part of that family but she would have come under my back gate I’d imagine as there are no holes in the fence. I don’t intend on keeping her indoors but will do so until she is parasite free, although she seems very content where she is she’s a wild baby and will be released in my back garden if people here think that’s okay. Problem now is if she’s a part of the neighbours family I’ll need to catch mum and two hoglets to free them of infestation too. Although they currently live next door would they settle in my garden if I put a good sized hog house in it? My neighbour is 95 years old and can’t care for them herself anymore.
    Thanks for reading and any advice is appreciated.


    Hi Barlosh,

    heart warming to hear your story of care for this little one.

    one problem with hogs is they wont be told where to live, and whilst it would be lovely to think you could create a cosy home in your garden that they would all live together in – they would probably have other ideas. there will be a reason that is obvious to them as to why they chose your neighbours garden and not yours as their first choice – although, being only next door, and visiting your habitat must also suit their needs.
    You don’t mention whether you put any food and or water down for them – and that may be a start to see if you could tempt them across rather than simply lift them from where they are?
    I think its worth the effort to check the rest of the family out for ticks, one way or the other as the infestation level would seem to very high based on the first little one – so they do need a habitat or behaviour adjustment to help drive those numbers down.
    Having said all that – I think a hog house (or two) is still a good idea, because they will be looking for hibernation sites soon’ish, and they wont hibernate as a family together, so you may tempt them over on that basis also?
    chances are that even if you cant tempt this hog family across, you will still be providing a hibernation opportunity for other hogs for years to come with a good quality hog house – just need to clean and boil it out each year once vacated.

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    Hi Barlosh

    Welcome to the Forum and well done for helping to get rid of the little one’s ticks. Personally, I think you should have released the hedgehog back into the wild as soon as you had removed the ticks. If it is a young one, this is a vital time for it to learn about it’s environment before hibernation. Most hedgehogs have some parasites. It could be a long time before you were sure that every parasite was gone. When/if it grows to be an adult, it will have to cope with some level of parasites. Whilst it clearly needed help with the number of ticks it had, keeping an otherwise healthy hedgehog captive, whilst waiting for more to appear, could be doing it more harm than good in the long term.

    You mention that it is very tame. I suppose it is definitely a wild european hedgehog and not one of the pygmy ones which people keep as pets that has either escaped or been let free? Wild European hedgehogs should never be kept as pets.

    If you want to encourage the other hedgehogs into your garden, as Jan Marie suggests, offering them cat/dog/hedgehog food and water might work. But also improving the habitat for them.
    If your neighbour is elderly, it may be that her garden has some wilder areas which the hedgehogs might like.

    If you do catch any of the others to remove ticks, I would release them immediately (or in a group if the youngsters are still with the mother) and keep human/hedgehog interaction to a minimum. It is actually not good for hedgehogs to become too habituated to humans. Whether we like it or not, humans are predators and it could have the effect of making them less wary of other predators. Also, not everyone loves hedgehogs.

    You might like to make some holes under your fence so that the hedgehogs can move around more freely. But it has to be their choice and they need to be able to move around several gardens. Wild hedgehogs don’t need looking after as such, what we feed should only be a supplement and we can keep an eye, out, as you have done, for an excessive load of parasites, if they are ill, etc. Otherwise they should be allowed to look after themselves. So there is no reason why they should not continue to have their ‘base’ in your neighbour’s garden.

    Good luck.

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